A cultural mind-shift without end.
Jindaola is a program that aims to embed Aboriginal ways and knowledges into the UOW curriculum. The Library is part of the third cohort and the first non-faculty department to take part and did so alongside the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, and Early Start (Early Education). Library representation included project members from Liaison Services, Client Services, Collections, Archives and members of the Library Executive Team.
Aspirations for participation included the opportunity to partner with faculties and professional units to progress strategic teaching, learning and research goals, and to develop skills and knowledge to be actively part of the movement towards embedding Aboriginal knowledges and perspectives into the core functions of collections, discovery and access. The program is seen as being very important to informing Library practice.
Unlike western style project design that targets predefined goals within rigid timelines, Jindaola is a learning experience to provide a deep level of understanding. Learnings are reached through a series of group experiences (gatherings) where Aboriginal methods of sharing, such as yarning circles, are used to forge deeper knowledge of each other in respect and reciprocity. Learnings can be individual or happen within a group. There is no right or wrong way of doing or knowing.
Having a deeper understanding of Aboriginal ways and knowledges opens the Library to new ways of doing and being. For example, understanding the importance of Country to Aboriginal peoples opens ways to better acknowledge Country, both personally and within the Library’s physical and online spaces. Understanding the history of colonisation enables Library staff to recognise colonising discourse and practice and helps to break the cycle of assumptions. This program is assisting the Library to adopt more culturally safe practices with regards to spaces and collections.
When we set out on this journey, our goal was to embed Aboriginal ways and knowledges into our Library practice. We now begin to realise just how powerful and useful Aboriginal knowledges, ways and techniques are to informing and enhancing practice. In this realisation, there is no end to this journey. To say it has been an enlightening experience is to sell it short. There is still much to learn.
1. Formal gathering | 2. Mount Keira | 3. Yarning circle